Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Farewell 2011

Wow, that was one big year for me. In some ways it was annus horribilis what with the loss of a dear friend and teacher and the aftermath.
However on the other hand it was a magnum anni (a great year) of which I am listing through the months through this blog post.
This is my last post of 2011 as well, as I am off to Bali to celebrate the end of this year and to welcome in the new year and all the promise and hope and excitement it brings with it. Oh and maybe just maybe, too drunk to blog but never too drunk to phone mum and dad. Bali is 8 hours ahead of England so that just makes things so much better. I can call people in the afternoon and wish them happy new year before passing out. Cant wait...

I celebrated the birth of 2011 in Frome, my home town with my cousin Emma in the Wheatsheaf, coming up for air around 1am, Kebab and sick on the way home and then hungover for the rest of it.
Tony drove me to the airport and Helen said goodbye. Such good friends.
Flew to Jakarta, then flew to Bali. Proposed to my girlfriend, on her birthday and agreed the date for the wedding in 2012.
Started another year with English First, welcomed new teachers and waved old teachers goodbye. And went again to Bali for the annual conference. Ended up in a gay cafe in a power cut with friends and well a night which should be forgotten.

Trips to Singapore  due to visa issues. Saving money and arranged for another year in the apartments after loosing the will to live after looking at Kosts in Tanjung Duren.

Earth hour in Starbucks with low level lighting and the rest of the place lit up  like a Christmas tree. Visits to malls and it seems working lots and lots but still the weather was nice.

Sighting seeing through Jakarta again which is always great fun. Trip to Kuala Lumpur for the day with teachers and my fiancee which was great fun.

Visa time after another trip to Singapore. Bacon sandwiches and Strongbow in Muddy Murphys which was a welcome relief.
Time out in Yogja for a weekend which was great and nice to see Merapi and the cool and lovely Java countryside.
My blog reached 10,000 visitors which was exciting and it was also threatened to be closed by lawyers of Gary Larson who claimed I breached copyright. Best not call them names just in case they are still checking.

A month of mourning as one of my teachers died. Took time to move on  but I have.
The center celebrated my birthday with a cake and it was a nice surprise amongst all the sadness.
Took a day trip to Paris Van Java ( Bandung) by train and enjoyed the journey and the day out.

Big party at Planet Hollywood with lots of kids and someone called Petra Sihombang. Managed to watch Harry Potter finally as major movies started coming back into the country after a brief spell of absence.

Idul Fitry came and went and I spent the time in the city, avoiding the noise and the traffic which was nice. Huge riots in England caused shockwaves across the world and was saddening to see. Managed to get my SIM for another year after a trip to the licensing center in Dann Mogot.
Took a day trip out to Bidadari Island, 20 minutes from Ancol.

I dont remember doing anything useful in this month at all. Work work work...

Said goodbye to Blackberry once and for all and welcome back Nokia as I changed phones again for the 3rd time this year.
Trip to the unknown and unfriendly wildlife sanctuary at Angke Muara.

Had the chance to stay in the Mulia Hotel at Senayan which was nice and very posh. 3rd trip to Bali and to sort out the wedding with our wedding planner. Visited the 'Rock Bar' and plan to return very soon.
It was nice to return to the island although Kuta is becoming more ugly by the day.

Annual conference with English First in the Morrissey hotel next to Jalan Jaksa was a great couple of days and very upbeat.
Spent some time away from work before the Christmas break shopping and taking it easy. Christmas in the Akmani hotel and lunch at Eastern Promise made Christmas far more special.
Now flying to Bali to meet some old friends to see in the new year and enjoy the last moments of a challenging and difficult year.

Overall life seemed a little quieter, I did manage to visit 5 different countries (if you count the stop over in Qatar on the way back here), get to Bali 4 times, Singapore 2 times, Malaysia once. Visit some of Java. Get 3 different phones, and a Tab.
I also did the most exciting thing ever, I got engaged and organised a date for marriage and it is all sorted out , pretty much.

So, 2012? Lots of things in store I think. Marriage, a new home, See family and friends here, work, Travelling more. And that is just for starters.

And well there we are thats my year all wrapped up. I will leave now wishing each and everyone of you, a happy new year full or success and good fortune. Happy 2012. Bring it on...

Amazing New Year Greeting

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas in Jakarta

Spending Christmas in Jakarta was to me not the best of choices as I have always managed to celebrate it somewhere other than here (England, Lombok and Bali) but it seemed 2011 did not give me a lot of choice so I decided to move into a hotel and try to enjoy Christmas in Jakarta.

I moved into the Akmani (hotel review here) hotel in the city, near Jalan Jacksa and Sarinah. Not far from Grand Indonesia shopping village, the Monas and Gambir railway station, so it is close to most places and easy to travel out from there. The hotel was nice overall and that helped the day.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the annual works pub quiz at Eastern Promise in Kemang and while I was there, reserved a table for Christmas day as they seemed to have all the trimmings and the food etc to help make the day special. So I was looking forward to that.

I took a couple of days off work before the school finished for the holidays to chill and enjoy some extra time. It also allowed me to go Christmas shopping and get some bits and pieces I needed. I did my shopping in Central Park as it is next door and for a change, it was quite enjoyable. I do like being stared at in ladies fashion stores as I look at skirts and tops for my fiancee. Makes it far more fun.

Christmas Eve came and so I loaded all the presents up and headed into the city. Checking into the hotel I settled down for a bit, before deciding to go for beer and food. I ended up in Ya uhdas restaurant. The restaurant is a great place to eat and drink and the food is mainly european and well priced. The curry was good and the beer cold. The restaurant used to be in Jalan Jaksa but it moved. To get there, go past the Morressey hotel. When you see a Permata bank go right and look for a building with orange and yellow railings and awnings. It always looks closed but it never is.

Stopping off in the local Hero at Sarinah, I loaded up with beer and snacks and settled into the hotel for a night of bad TV, internet and time with my fiancee.  At midnight I spoke to many friends in England, wishing them happy Christmas as they are 7 hours behind and that was good.
At 6.30am I spoke to some sober friends in England as they were just about to celebrate Christmas day and I had already started!
Gifts opened and played with (in the corner), breakfast and then out for coffee and then to Kemang.

The AC for some reason was not working or switched on in EP (Eastern Promise) and that made it more cosy and hot. Our table was ready and the place itself was fairly packed. The meal offer was standard christmas farye for 185+++ but instead of plated food, it was actually a buffet which was really good. The food was hot, well prepared. The turkey and Gammon was really nice and despite no sprouts, everything else I would eat for Christmas was there.

 Ate all my food, and certainly drank all my wine. Thats was nice. The original wine was unavailable so I opted for the house red with arrived in a Jacobs Creek bottle, now whether it was Jacobs Creek I could not tell you but who cares, it was wine and it was good and it went well with the food and it made me smiley and  helped the day along lovely. The food as my place clearly shows was great and the fact EP provided Christmas Crackers as well made the meal far more fun and homely. It was a good choice to go there for Christmas.

Taxi back to the local Hero for more beer and then an afternoon of drinking and TV only leaving the hotel for Pizza and some coffee and then back to the hotel for TV and yes, more beer.
I phoned my parents around 8pm to wish them Happy Christmas, as is family tradition, mum was already on the gin and father was watching Morecombe and Wise on TV so they were happy. For me, this has to be the most difficult time of the year, as I do miss my family and friends back home. However, everyone back home and my fiancee have been wonderful and so the homesickness has been kept at bay.

So, Christmas in Jakarta is certainly not the best place to celebrate it, if you like lots of activity and Christmas spirit. But if you are in excellent company, have good food and fun times then it does not matter where you are as that feeling can still be felt.
Boxing Day (26th December) was spent taking life easy and doing not much. Watching the football now and  thats a nice way to end the Christmas festivities.

Friday, I am back off to Bali for New Year. I am meeting old dear friends from England which is great and it will interesting to see the New Year Celebrated in Balinese / drunken Australian style. Can't wait.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Happy Christmas


Just a quick note to say to everyone who stops by to read my blogs and notes. 

Have a happy Christmas and a joyous new year. 

Good old Norad is ensuring Santa gets about safely... Worth viewing for the sheer fun of watching him deliver the presents around the world.

Sorry if this page is slow to load

Transferring Photos

Well Christmas is nearly upon us and so that means, food, presents, trees, family, good times, parties and ultimately happy memories. There is also the spiritual side and the religious side but to be honest, that really is not my understanding or approach to Christmas but I do feel I approach Christmas in a christian way, peace and goodwill to all men and the like...

Still thats not really my point to this blog. What is, is the tedious and often complicated process of uploading photos to computers etc from phones and vice versa when pictures are taken. I am sure many new phones, pads, tabs, pods, netbooks, laptops, PCs, Blackberrys etc will be unwrapped and loved on Christmas day and then used to the battery dies and of course charged again and repeated many many times.

I take lots of photos with my camera, tab and have to then push them all together through bluetooth or cables to and fro my netbook. However for some reason I found a programme which seems quite usefully to do all this for me. The program is called Dropbox and it is so far one of the most useful things I have found  for my computer.

Very simply, Dropbox allows you upload photos from any device that has access to the internet and then it shares it with other devices that are connected to the same account, for free and immediately. I currently have it installed on 4 devices and the sharing and then storing and swapping of photos just happens straight away and with out any fuss (as long as you are signed in of course).

For most platforms and devices it is simply called DropBox, for my Nokia I am using Cool Box.

No doubt some of you will have some concerns about security or safety of materials uploaded but I don't and so I just get on with it. However I am sure the small print on their site explains everything well enough.

So click on the picture and take a look.

Monday, 12 December 2011

December nights

Its been a while since I wrote about anything normal since my last posts were all connected to my last trip to Bali. Since then its been the same and usual state of affairs, work eat sleep and the occasional dodging of rain through the week and weekend.
Actually perhaps a tad more exciting than that. The battle for the sink was eventually won and the ants have left that theater of war for now and I am sure are sat inside the wall somewhere, plotting their revenge and new plan to try and invade my apartment and take it over. I am sure they might have realised by now that they should just call it quits and head next door, where perhaps the resident is a little more friendly towards these melon carrying fiends.

At some point over the last few weeks I managed to sign for another year with English First. I am delighted with that decision and I am looking forward to another year working with great people and the students who are an endless source of fun and energy, even when they have national exams or the worlds worries on their shoulders. A few laughs and the present perfect and they seem to be more relaxed and cheery. Now to work hard for the year after or what ever will happen at the end of 2012.

Speaking of work, EF Indonesia had its annual conference in Jakarta. I am calling it annual despite being Bali for the 2011 conference in January. Still the conference was held in the Morrissey Boutique hotel at the end of Jalan Jaksa in Menteng. My review of the hotel can be found here
The conference was fantastic as usual and I am looking forward to the new books and ideas and technology being rolled out through 2012. Should be great and so much fun to teach and study. 
Actually it seems I am going to promote my company a bit more as I have been doing more than teaching recently. We had a colouring competition a couple of Saturdays ago and that was great fun. 82 kids from 3 to 9 busy shading in a picture in order to win a trophy and cash. It was a fun Saturday morning and time well spent.

Then the weekend just gone, the annual EF SWARA pub quiz in Eastern Promise, Kemang took place. 9 rounds of insane questions or insanely hard questions for the teachers to answer, all with happy hour beer prices and top food. I believe I will be there for Christmas dinner this year as the menu looked good. We will see.

All my Christmas cards and postcards have been written and if you dont get one, dont complain. I did ask everyone through Facebook, if they wanted a card to send me their address. Some did, the others never. I have lost more addresses than I care to remember but still, those I could remember have had cards sent out.
I am not really doing anything to spruce up the apartment for Christmas. Not much point really, as I wont be in it for most of Christmas and it would be only me to see it anyhows. So the cards I get will do. Next year, a tree and the usual other stuff I will do. 

However I leave you with a picture of the tree at Central Park, billed as the 'tallest musical light tree in the country' or some nonsense. The photo is not very good. Nor is the tree.

Last years

Far nicer

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Bali Beaches

Having returned from yet another trip to Bali (3 this year so far) I must admit to being refreshed and more relaxed from the time spent there. Bali for all its faults and the list is growing is still a place for me to relax and feel at peace despite the noise and chaos all around.
We flew Air Asia and arrived late at night so everything was either closed or closing as 10 or 11pm seems to be bedtime for most bars and restaurants and if you want later then you need Legion and the noise, mess and drunk loud tourists letting go and partying it out, probably to the bemusement or annoyance but acceptance of the locals.
We stayed at Pesona Beach Inn in Poppies 1 again as it is cheap, clean, big rooms and very quiet and restful.

The reason for the trip was not only to chill and enjoy the island but to meet our wedding planner, visit the hotel where we will be married and to visit the famous 'rock bar' in Jimbaran and generally have a great time. I think we did that down to the last letter and for a change I was sad to leave and return home.

We had hired a car for 250,000 idr for 10 hours not including fuel but including driver and so at 10am the next day we got in and headed towards Echo Beach.
Echo beach far away in time, is a favourite 80's classic song of mine and so the actual to chance to visit a beach of the very same name had to be to good to miss. It is also know as Canngu Beach and is about an hour from Kuta heading west.
The beach is find sandy one and has some great surf and huge waves. There are some man made water break things which prevent the aggressive sea from eating away a temple and eroding the coast line further. Still it was a nice place and I think somewhere to return to for a long visit.

Not sure the photos do it justice but the weather was glorious and the sound of the sea and the waves and the place was simply great

After some factory outlet shopping and some lunch we headed for Jimbaran and found a most delightful beach way off the beaten track but next to the entrance to the Ayana resort complex.No signs just a road and then at the end of the road is of course another temple. To get to the beach you have to climb down through the rocks and then is amazing.

So quiet apart from some fishermen and that was it. We stayed about an hour, getting burnt and then we headed for our next beach and to get to it, into the very expensive and exclusive resort Ayanna Resort and the some what famous Rock Bar.

Rock bar is a great place with greatly priced menus but worth every penny. You have to sign in, wait to be called, wait to be transported down the cliff edge in a trolley and then shown to a table. You are given free snacks, free ice cold towels and umbrellas to shade yourself from the sun. There are steps to the beach. It was a great place to watch the sun go down.

Last but not least was the infamous Kuta beach. Now I have been going to Bali frequently since 2007 and in that time the beach has been reshaped, restyled, cleaned, covered in trash, covered in dead fish etc but honestly, this was the first time I had seen it so clean and it was really stunning.

The water was cleaner than normal and the waves still big and noisy and excellent for surfing. I have so many photos of the beach and the sunset, I should really create another blog with them all in. You never know it might just happen.

That was my last Bali adventure but not the end of them. Always more to come....

Monday, 28 November 2011

Hotel Accommodation Bali New Years Eve

Trying to find accommodation in Kuta, Bali 5 weeks before New Years Eve was a bit of a mission over the weekend even though I was staying on the island. I will be back next month for 2 nights over New Years eve and I wanted to be in Kuta where the most fun can be had and it's the most lively spot. However, after checking over 30 hotels, guest houses, travel lodges, losemen, villas, backpackers both on line and walking into different places I was met with full over the seasonal period or you need to book online or we only have rooms if you are staying 3 or more nights.

It seems that all of Bali's hotels have already been booked up from the 23rd December to the 2nd January.

 The days of walking into a hotel in Bali over Christmas seem to be disappearing. 60,000 rooms apparently have been built around Bali in various forms of lodgings so believing everything was full took some time. Asian Rooms, Wotif and Agoda all had hotels available but I don't want to pay 4 million a night upwards and even a local Bali hotel search site had a warning to book different times than the dates I wanted.

Now this is not to say that all hotels will be full if you just arrive but the price will hurt I think and if you are planning to just turn up, be prepared to do some leg work and spend some time finding a room. Poppies 1 is almost full, therefore I will make the assumption Poppies 2, Legion and then into Seminyak is also filling up fast.

Still I eventually found rooms and have some great rooms for a higher than normal price but they will do and they look wonderful. You will know more in January. But for now....

is not the nicest message you want to hear when planning New Year in Paradise. 

Air Asia Indonesia

I seem to write a lot about Air Asia, now that every one can fly but I guess that is because something always happens when I do fly with them, good or bad but still it happens, however on this occasion I thought I would bring the world up to speed with what has been happening down our neck of the woods Air Asia
Last week all Air Asia Indonesia flights from Jakarta were moved to the highly polished and badly signed Terminal 3 at the airport, which has to be ultimately the best thing that could have happened. Why? well mainly it is simply the nicest part of the airport and the newest and shiniest part.

Now in Indonesia you can fly from different airports to different places in Asia but hardly anywhere inside the country.
From Jakarta you can fly to Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Singapore internationally yet only to Yogyakarta and Bali no more than 6 times a day. Thats it there is no other route from Jakarta to Medan or Makassar, but just the 2 destinations. I guess that the other routes are not profitable so they withdrew the service.
The prices for flights are dependent on the season, time of flight and the promotion Air Asia is having.

As a low cost airline they are just that. Professional but cheap. Nothing wrong with the planes but the crews look tired and in need of a break and the ground staff at times lack any kind of desire to help. But again thats not always true as I have received so great help and service from the people working for the airline.

So Terminal 3, is a vast new terminal and big and airy and quite nice to relax in before your flight.

The terminal has been changed now so that there is an international departure check in and a domestic check in. All self scan and if you need to check luggage in then there are open desks. It is really simple to do and if there is any issues someone will help you.
Through the sliding doors you enter into another vast space where there is GM Baki, JCO, Circle K, some ATMs etc and a few screens telling you all the flights are late. You can either go to the arrival gate and wait for people or go up the escalator to the departure lounges and shop in the massively over priced and useless Keris (they have large pieces of luggage for sale, not sure how you get that on the plane), an overpriced book store, some small restaurants, a typical airport Starbucks high on smiles, low on cleaning tables and not much else. There are more screens here and there still not telling you much.
The tannoy is equally as bad as the place is not designed for the use of a sound system acoustically but it still gets its fair share of usage.
To the left is the international lounge which is all behind glass and screens and to the right domestic departures. You pay your 40,000 idr to leave just before you go into the departure lounge. Forget what the ticket states for the departure gate, there is only one way down to the aircraft. The screens inside do not tell you anything about your flight and the only tannoy announcements you hear are for someone to board the flight to Singapore. However boarding the plane is simple, easy and hassle free.

Coming back into the airport the arrivals is of course on the ground floor and you have to walk to the building from the aircraft. This huge cave of a building is soul less and empty of life when you walk through it and the conveyor for your luggage is signed but never moves quickly.
To leave you just walk straight and thats it. Security might glance at you but nothing more. Walk past the restaurant with the live music welcoming you to Jakarta and then follow the signs to the exit. In true Indonesian style only one set of exit doors will be operational and then head into the chaos that exists outside all terminals at Jakarta airport. Taxis and Buses and people trying to sell you taxi bus or other vehicle rides.

The main taxi company for T3 seems to be Diamond, and I cant use them. Gading again seem to be there, cant trust them either. White Horse premium is pushed and pushed but they are way too expensive. So you sit and wait for a normal cab (Blue Bird, gamya, Express etc) while the taxi people push and shout at each other to gain service. Its a mess. And as it is T3 it is a way from the main terminals so there are fewer taxis.
There is a bus to T1 or 2 and that runs every 5-10 minutes and from T2 you can get a bus into the city to Blok M or Gambir railway station.

The taxi ride into the city is metered and you have to pay a surcharge to different zoned parts of the city as well as the tolls which is 12,000 at Pluit.

Despite my moaning, T3 is the nicer of terminals and is more relaxed and clean and cool than T1 or 2 and I ultimately do enjoy flying with Air Asia as they do what they say on the tin, they fly people in the air through Asia.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

5 Star hotels Jakarta

The best thing about working is looking forward to not working and this week has to be no exception to that rule. I have been busy and not really stopped all week and so knowing the weekend was on its way was the best thing to look forward to.
Despite the normal duty of working Saturday morning, I was eager to get there and therefore eager to leave. Taxi booked for 1pm and then to the city for fun and to relax. 

On Sunday last week someone from the maintenance department in the apartments paid a call telling me that water was leaking from my bathroom into the corridor below and that someone needed to come and fix it. So without too much fuss it was arranged for a visit on Monday and then to be repaired on Tuesday. As normal, nothing ever goes to plan so the visit never happened on the Monday and then on Tuesday 2 scruffy looking men knocked on the door armed with a bucket and a hello mister and proceeded into the bathroom and with the door closed behind sweated and sorted the bathroom floor out. An hour later, they left the bathroom and went away leaving a lot of mess, dust and dirt for me to sort out and the shine taken off the floor. I suspect the bill will arrive soon for their company. It can wait to be paid. Still no one has called since about leaking water so they must have done the trick.

The taxi booked for Saturday unsurprisingly never arrived and so seeing it was such a hot and dry day I wandered away from work to look for a taxi, which eventually I found. We sped at great speed despite the traffic into the city and to Plaza Senayan where I was meeting my Fiancee.
Currently in the city and country are the SEA games or the South East Asia games, a bit like the commonwealth games only more so and so the traffic and amount of buses has increased dramatically as have the lack of taxis free. Still after getting to the Plaza, we go and eat in the food court. Fat Burgers are now my favourite burger of choice in the city as the one I had was great. 

From there we headed back in a taxi to my overnight stay at one of cities finest hotels. The Hotel Mulia.  A hotel of luxury and riches and a price to go with it. After getting through security tighter and more controlled than the international airport here, we were greeted and shown to reception and checked in.
I have been in grand hotels before and 5 star ones across the world but Hotel Mulia stands apart so far, for me, although like the Hotel Boroburdur the entrance and commotion was strangely the same. Lots of people stood about waiting for cars and taxis, lots of cars and taxis and noise and staff in smart uniforms trying to help everyone. 
Getting our room key we then proceeded to the elevator lobby (8 in total) got in one and then had to insert the room key to get the elevator to move as they have clever security there. 
We were on the 33rd floor although I suggest it was not more than the 7th floor as the numbering was odd and strange. 
Still hotel rooms are hotel rooms thats for sure and so this was not to be any different except it was. The room was huge and was spacious yet full of big furniture and plush furnishings. 
The view was looking south east over the city and that was amazing. 

The best thing apart from the big bed and free fruit was the bath and the endless supply of hot water. I have missed deep bath tubs ad long baths thats for sure. 

For a change it was nice to stay in luxury and enjoy the facilities offered by the hotel. In the evening we went out to FX mall for food and some shopping and then headed  back to the room.

Sadly our package did not include breakfast so as it was being a 5 star place, I paid for the breakfast which I have to say was on the whole very good. As the hotel caters for lots of Chinese and Japanese there was simply plenty of Japanese food available for breakfast, as well as the normal Indonesian stuff. The western option was OK, not as good as the Borobordur but still waffles and syrup, dragon fruit and 6 different types of cheese helped fill me up!! Coffee was refilled slowly but it was refilled. The breakfast room was brimming with people and we got there early! and it seemed very busy all the time. Well worth the 400,000 rupiah for 2 that I paid.

Eventually time ran out and so we had to check out and leave and head out back into the city. I cant complain. It was a freebie and instead of forking out something close to $300 USD for the stay, I just had to pay for the breakfast and taxis. Now that is great news. 

For more details on the hotel click here and an  in depth review here

Pouring with rain, from the hotel we were heading into the JCC or Jakarta Convention Center which is next to the hotel and massive in size. Because of the Asian games the place was gridlocked but we eventually got to the JCC and then to find someone who was carrying something very important of mine.

In order to get married, I have to prove my age and this has to be done through my original birth certificate. This is or rather was in England. Luckily my Auntie Pat lives next door to a woman who works for Bath University and the University was part of an European Education fair in the city so through mum and my auntie and a wonderful woman called Sally, I am now reunited with my birth certificate, now I need to careful not to lose it!!!
I was also spoilt by mother to some chocolates from Marks and Spencer, new clothes, English Crisps and from Sally a big jar of Marmite which is simply great. Thank you. Smiles abound we said our farewells to Sally and headed then to Thamrin to get some cheap bedding in the Java Department store and then home to the apartment for the rest of the day.

All in all it has been a fantastic weekend full of surprises and fun and treats and luxury. Roll on Bali in a couple of weeks....

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Remembrance Sunday

Next Sunday will be for everyone English, Remembrance Sunday, which is preceded by Armistice Day or 11 November, the day when the Great War ended in 1918. The war to end all wars was the first global world war, engulfing millions, displacing millions and sadly ending the lives of millions. A war that is responsible in some way for many historical events since.

One of the most poignant symbols after the war was the humble poppy. The poppy was a flowering plant which would grow and flower in the war torn battlefields of Belgium (Flanders) where there was some of the worst fighting and then amongst the war graves until it became an iconic and globally known image of the war.

It is worn and used by many countries around the world to help people show their respect to the people who served, fought and died in the first world war and all conflicts since, including current theatres of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In England, Remembrance Sunday is a day when people stop and pay their respects through laying wreaths of poppies and also holding 2 minutes silence at 11am. London comes to a standstill as the government, the royal family and  many veterans of all major conflicts march past the Cenotaph (a war memorial) and lay wreaths there. Also across the country, people lay wreaths at their local war memorial where ever they live.

This act of remembrance is also conducted through out the world where ever there is a war grave and over this week these war graves will also have poppies wreaths laid. At sea as well, wreaths of poppies are ceremoniously placed into the ocean.

In Indonesia, I am sure the Dutch will be laying wreaths in the war graves at Menteng Pulo or Ancol and other places throughout the country. The main war grave for England its Commonwealth nations is in Ambon and going there is not really advised at the moment.

For more information about the Ambon British war grave click here.

For me, I will paying my respects both on November 11 at 11 am  for the end of the Great War and then on  Sunday again at 11am to pay my respects to those men and service women who have fought and died in order to defend my freedom.

Even though there are no survivors of the Great War left now and the veterans of World War 2 are fading into glory, every day there are countless people fighting in far flung corners of the globe trying to bring peace and freedom to many. Whilst we may not agree with the politics or the reasons why the soldiers there are doing their jobs with determination and care they should not be forgotten or dismissed. Every nation has its soldiers somewhere trying to bring peace to another nation. If in doubt click this. Indonesia for example has nearly 2000 personnel working for the United Nations Peace Keeping Force where as the UK has 450. However the UK is currently involved in 7 major conflicts in various roles through the world which involves thousands of people risking their lives day in and day out.

I hope they are kept safe and do their job as they were trained to do and they all come home to the heroes welcome they deserve, fit and well.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
by John McCrae, May 1915

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.     
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.